Noms in NYC! Pasta at Penn Station? Cookies at Canal?
September 15, 2010 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Looking for NYC restaurant recommendations for dinner Friday in the walking area of Penn Station or the Canal Street subway. More info inside!

Hi everyone! I have a friend who is going to have some time to kill in NYC around dinnertime on Friday. I was hoping for some good restaurant recommendations in the walking-distance area of Penn Station or the Canal Street Subway stop. She's looking to spend around $40 on food (not drinking), and is running a half-marathon on Sunday, so she says carb-loading is great. She has no head for spicy (seriously, does not deal with capsaicin well at all) and is looking for something in the challenge-range of American, Italian, etc.

As always, locally-owned is *way* better than chain. Any suggestions?
posted by Concolora to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would stay away from the area around Penn Station because of the concentration of tourists. You don't say what Canal St. stop you have in mind, but if it is the A/C/E then Laconda Verde might fit the bill. A lot of people seem to like it, and while I was not wowed when I went there, I don't think I was in the right mindset. I thought the food was good, though. And if you aren't buying alcohol, then it should be pretty easy to spend less than or around $40.
posted by ekroh at 1:22 PM on September 15, 2010

Response by poster: For stops on Canal, my friend says "the one that the blue E train goes to". Thanks for the help!
posted by Concolora at 1:52 PM on September 15, 2010

Matsugen is by Canal. Their duck soup with soba has carb-licious soba noodles and is mind-blowingly ducky and delicious, and I think it's around 18$.
posted by prefpara at 2:02 PM on September 15, 2010

I work right on 8th Avenue near Penn Station. I know this area too well. This area is not big on locally owned anything, except your standard NYC deli set up to serve lunch crowds. It is crappy. The rest of the stuff around Penn Station is designed to serve people heading to concerts or sporting events. It's not great.

Everything I can come up with is spicy. There's a BBQ place right on 32nd & 8th, a great Szechuan place a short walk on 9th, K-town an even shorter stroll, great Korean fried chicken a little further than that. If you don't want ethnic it's not a great area for food.

Off the A/C/E line at the Canal Street stop, Locanda Verde is farther than I'd send someone - you've got the whole of Tribeca food if you're going to send them that far - so I would offer that if that distance from the subway is acceptable there is a ton of food down there. If she wants carbo-loading, Bubby's.

My go-to in Midtown for a decent meal is always Artisanal. It's not Italian but it is delicious and worth the money.
posted by micawber at 2:16 PM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

The area around Penn Station has some of the worst, most generic food in New York, with the possible exception of the area around Times Square.

You're probably best off heading east from the Canal Street A/C/E stop.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:03 PM on September 15, 2010

Agree with micwber - Bubby's rocks!

Penn Station is challenging. Near Canal, if you like french you must try the utterly charming though tiny Ivo & Lulu's ( It's a real "new york experience" as you accidently fondle the person next to you while trying to eat your filet Bonus: it's BYOW ... get your drink on for cheap! Right next door and of a similar flaveour is La Sirene.
posted by keasby at 4:34 PM on September 15, 2010

Tír na nÓg if you like irish pubs/restaurant. IT has great food and is pretty much across the street on the post office side.
posted by majortom1981 at 5:08 PM on September 15, 2010

If you can avoid eating near Penn Station, by all means do so. The restaurants are ovepriced, and there are no standouts worth going to.

Near the Canal St. sub way stop it's a whole different story. Broome Street Bar has all kinds of great yummy hot and cold sandwiches, and is a chill place to grab a meal in what is otherwise a hectic neighborhood.

If you dig Vietnamese food, like pho, noodles and soups Nha Trang is the best in NYC, and it is surprisingly cheap for how amazing the food is.

If you don't mind taking a little bit of a walk (10-15 min tops, through an interesting part of Manhattan) definitely hit up Lombardi's Pizza. Lombardi's is always in every hardcore pizza junkies top 3 list, and it's one of the best pies you'll ever have. It's worth the trip if you're in the neighborhood and need a heavy duty carb fix to boot.
posted by EvilPRGuy at 7:59 PM on September 15, 2010

Agree that it's best to leave the Penn Station area and head downtown.

Artisanal might work but it's a bit less convenient to get to the A/C/E Canal St stop.

I don't think Lombardi's is in anybody's top lists any more (that honor would probably go to Keste, Di Fara, Totonno's Coney Island, Motorino, Lucali, Franny's, etc). It is coasting on past reputation and lots of new pizza joints now abound. It's also problematic in that it's perennially overwhelmed with people and whole pies only (I'm assuming that half the pie may go to waste).

I'd either:

- walk down to Co aka Company on 9th and 24th for a Naples inspired pizza by Jim Lahey, he of Sullivan Street Bakery and no knead bread fame. It's a short walk from Penn Station if you exit the 8th Ave and 31st St side. The pies here are smaller and more contemporary in topping. Try the "Ham & Cheese" pie: pecorino, gruyère, mozzarella, prosciutto, and caraway.


- stop in early (like 6ish) to eat at the bar at Po in the West Village, one stop north of Canal on the A/C/E. It was Mario Batali's first restaurant, cozy, popular, delicious pastas, generous portions, reasonable prices. They take reservations, too, if your friend wants a table instead. The complimentary white bean bruschetta is great. I also love the orecchiette, sweet sausage ragu & broccoli rabe (and it's huge). And this is a good walking around area afterwards too, just go up Bleecker between 6th and 7th. Your friend can also grab additional carbs at Amy's Bread.
posted by kathryn at 11:09 PM on September 15, 2010

Locanda Verde is farther than I'd send someone

It's a six-minute walk.
posted by ekroh at 5:00 AM on September 16, 2010

Stout, across 7th from Penn Station, makes pretty good pub food, but it's insufferably loud and crowded on event nights. Luckily, I don't think anything's going on at the Garden tomorrow, so it's an option.

Walking a few blocks north on 7th from Penn Station, you'll find Ginger's, which is a good Chinese food place. I recommend the noodle soups. Of course, it's going to pale in comparison to the awesomeness of what can be found on Canal Street. But, if you're stuck eating right near Penn, it's a good option.

I'd say that no advice is necessary if eating on Canal. You literally trip over good food walking around there, and anything that looks tasty is highly unlikely to disappoint. (You do have to dig around, and possibly speak Chinese, to get the truly exotic stuff. But, it sounds like your friend doesn't really want that.)

Lastly, if she's serious about carbo-loading, and doesn't mind a bit of a walk, Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle is an experience.
posted by Citrus at 1:02 PM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: My friend went with Laconda Verde and loved it! Thanks AskMeFi!
posted by Concolora at 5:32 AM on September 21, 2010

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